Magical season for Swarthmore Baseball continues in NCAA Tourney

For the second time in program history, the Swarthmore College baseball team is headed to the Division III NCAA Tournament.

Matt Leon
May 16, 2018 - 10:44 am
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- For the second time in program history, the Swarthmore College baseball team is headed to the Division III NCAA Tournament.

The Garnet are the five seed in the Auburn, New York Regional and they will open things up on Thursday against the four-seed Baldwin Wallace University. 

Swarthmore brings a 33-9 record into the NCAA Tournament and this is already the winningest season in program history.

"It's been fantastic," Swarthmore head coach Matt Midkiff tells KYW Newsradio. "Just really cool to see the Swarthmore community come out and support us and the students that were at the conference tournament. It's just been a lot of fun and really cool to see for Swarthmore. Really happy for the college and for our players."

READ: Swarthmore Baseball On A Roll In 2018

Swarthmore won that Centennial Conference Tournament in thrilling fashion, beating Johns Hopkins 4-3 in 11 innings. The Garnet had to rally from down 2-0 in the 9th and down 3-2 in the 10th before eventually winning the game in the 11th.

"I said a couple of times during that game that if this was going to happen for us, that there is no better way for it to happen," Midkiff says. "It was kind of a microcosm of our season that we just never quit and never stopped fighting. Our players sometimes have to calm the coaching staff down, say, 'Hey Coach, we've got this. We're fine.' The mental toughness of our team and the resilience of our team has just been unbelievable to watch. I think it definitely speaks to the character of the young men that wear the Swarthmore uniform and it's really, really cool to see them battle and ultimately succeed."

Baldwin Wallace, located in Berea, Ohio, comes into the tournament 31-12. The Yellow Jackets are the champions of the Ohio Athletic Conference.

"At this point everybody can play and so we have to ready," Midkiff says. "Baldwin Wallace looks like a team with some really gaudy offensive numbers. So we'll have to be prepared to pitch those guys well and play strong defense, not give them anything as far as walks or errors or things like that. Make them earn everything they get. They steal a lot of bases so we will have to control the running game. I think offensively is where we can do some damage. We'll see their number one (pitcher) and I'm sure he's going to be ready for us. But our offensive approach, I think, is something that will be able to carry us through a tournament like this because it is kind of a grinding approach and we typically like to wear on the other team. So that's the goal and hopefully we can accomplish it."

READ: It Was a Game to Remember For Swarthmore Baseball's Jackson Roberts

The Garnet's only other NCAA Tournament appearance came back in 1985.

The regional is double-elimination format.

Swarthmore and Baldwin Wallace get underway at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday.

You can follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleon1060.